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2020/21: Software Development Trends and Future Predictions

Published in the Random group
It’s less than two months till the end of 2020. The time to start stock-taking and next year forecast-making. Which is kind of always fun, isn’t it? Summing up what this year has brought us and speculating on what to expect in the next year. That is exactly what we are going to do today: take a look at what happened in the software development industry in 2020, as well as making some careful predictions for 2021. 2020/21: Software Development Trends and Future Predictions - 1

Software development in 2020

Based on the results of the annual Developer Ecosystem Survey (almost 20,000 developers were surveyed in 2020) conducted by JetBrains software development company, Java is the most popular primary programming language in the world right now. While JavaScript remains at the top position as the most commonly known and most used programming language overall. As for the other programming languages and trends of their popularity in 2020, Python keeps growing and competing with Java. Now Python is the most studied programming language in the world: over 30% of respondents said they started or continued to learn Python in 2020, which is more than ever before. Python is also one of the top three languages developers are planning to adopt or migrate to in 2020-2021, with Go and Kotlin being on the top of that list. Another interesting finding of this survey is that Typescript programming language keeps growing steadily, quickly approaching leaders and demonstrating quite an impressive growth. In 2017 only 12% of respondents were using it and only 1% said it is their primary language. In 2020 28% of users said they are using Typescript and for 12% it’s their primary language. Looks like a new star is being born; with growth like this, Typescript soon should make it to the top 5 most popular programming languages in the world.

Java in 2020

When it comes to programmers that are using Java as their main programming language, this survey also has some curious discoveries. Despite the fact that Java 15 is the latest version of our beloved language, the majority of programmers (75% of respondents) are still using relatively Java 8, released back in March of 2014th. Java 11 is second at 32%, and keeps growing in popularity. Compared to last year, its usage has increased by 10 percentage points. The newer Java 12 and Java 13 are quickly finding their audiences. They are both regularly used by 10% or more of the developers surveyed. As for application servers Java developers are using, Apache Tomcat is still by far the most popular one, with 62% of respondents saying they choose it, even though it has lost a couple percentage points compared to last year. Spring Boot is the most popular Java framework with 61% of Java coders using it. Spring MVC is second with 42%. Among Java Enterprise specifications, Java EE 8 is still the leader with 44%. IntelliJ IDEA is by far the most popular IDE: 72% respondents prefer this IDE to others. Researchers also found 75% of Java developers use unit tests in their projects. JUnit (83%) and Mockito (43%) are still the most popular solutions in this field.

Software development in 2021. Predictions

Predicting the future is always much more difficult than analyzing what already happened. Let us share with you five predictions for 2021 that are very likely to be accurate.

  • The demand for software developers will grow in 2021.

Even though for some time now we’ve been seeing the opposite predictions, about the world having too many programmers by now and AI soon to be taking a chunk of the most mundane coding tasks, so far the demand for developers has been only growing. And the next year most likely won’t be an exception. The COVID-19 epidemic should play its part, especially if the vaccine won’t be ready till the end of 2020 and the spread of the virus continues with renewed lockdowns around the world. As global quarantines drive the demand for digital services even higher causing a spike in digitalization that wasn’t expected by the market, it looks like businesses will need to hire even more programmers to keep up with the demand.

  • Java programming will continue to dominate the market.

And this isn’t even our own forecast. According to this prediction, Java, Kotlin, and Scala will continue to rock as the most popular trio on the software development market today. “Java’s runtime, Java Virtual Machine offers an excellent foundation for JAVA and many popularly used programming languages like Kotlin and Scala use JVM as their runtime,” the analysts note.

  • Artificial Intelligence will keep trending.

Even though AI has been a hot niche for several years now, it won’t stop making news in 2021. More and more businesses in various industries are starting to adopt AI technologies and integrate them into their work processes. Naturally, the demand for developers experienced in AI projects should go through the roof in 2021, and their salaries will follow.

  • Remote work in software development will get even more common.

As you probably know, one of the COVID-19 epidemic’s most positive effects of the tech industry is supercharging the shift from office to remote work. The dramatic shift has taken place early in 2020, and next year even more companies should adapt to the new reality and allow their employees to work from home. Which is just amazing, isn’t it?

  • Python will keep growing in popularity and competing with Java (as the most popular backend language).

With ML and AI development on the rise, Python should continue its steady growth, and the demand for Python coders should be rising as well. On the other hand, the fact that Python is now widely learnt and the number of Python developers is steadily increasing should certainly toughen the competition for jobs among Python developers, which normally affects the salaries in a negative way.
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